In Collar Factory and Member Stories by Forward Space

Member Stories: Rockstone Media

Rockstone Media were the very worthy winners of our recent Startup at Collar Factory competition, winning a free 3-month stint in one of our furnished studios at Collar Factory in Taunton. As they approach the end of their competition win, we caught up with Director, Ben Hartley, to find out a little bit more about the business, blah and lunchtime toasties from Snappy SUP’s.

Ben Hartley Portrait, Rockstone Media, Collar Factory, Taunton

Tell us a bit about yourself, what’s your background and what’s your business?

Hi, I’m Ben and I grew up the beautiful county of Somerset and have always been a creative!  From a very early age I loved art, design and music and also loved the outdoors lifestyle; spending most of time on a skateboard or surfboard… dreaming of living in California!

After studying Graphic Design and Communications at Falmouth University in Cornwall, I did some freelance work for animation video production agencies in Bristol, before setting off to travel around the world and gain more exposure to other cultures and lifestyles.  After some great adventures specifically throughout South East Asia and Australia and doing a few odd jobs to fund my way back to the UK; I eventually settled back into Somerset life.

I took a position with an online commercial interiors company as a Design & Sales Coordinator.  The company grew rapidly, and I learnt a lot about commercial interior design, space planning and running a business in general. I found myself in the latter years working less on CAD and proposals for clients, but more on photography and video case study projects, where I felt much more at home creatively.

Fast forward to 2020 and the turbulent times of the pandemic, furlough, and more home working, I took on some freelance design work and decided to push the photography and video aspect and created several videos for small businesses and organisations.  It soon became clear that my energy and passion for these projects was evolving alongside a growing client base, so in April 2022 Rockstone Media was born!

What does an average workday look like for you?

I come in to Collar Factory in the morning and test my Barista skills on the coffee machine then open the studio and ask Alexa to play music. I’m Generation X and a bit of an Indie fan, so Radio 6 Music is my bag!

Our clients now require different aspects of content, branding and marketing so it keeps the working day varied and interesting. I will usually be working on elements of content or design, or if we have been on a video shoot, I will be editing footage, which can be quite time consuming, so 24-hour access to the new studio has been really useful.

Ben Hartley, Rockstone Media at Collar Factory Taunton.

Who, or what, inspires you and your business?

I find it really inspiring learning about other people’s businesses and organisations and I love seeing their visions come to life with our help. More specifically, I am inspired by those who want to make a difference – especially those in the Wellness sector. To be aligned and working alongside companies and organisations who promote mindfulness and wellbeing in today’s world keeps things genuinely interesting as I too share those values.

Much of my inspiration has derived from close friends and colleagues who have also been on similar journeys in the creative industries. Its always inspiring to learn from them and to share all our combined knowledge and experience, through collaborating on projects or discussing new ideas over a coffee!

What have been your major successes so far?

Having only launched Rockstone less than two years ago, I consider every completed project, alongside a happy client, a success. Amongst others, we have made videos for School Breathe and launched a website for EquiScholars; both of which provide educational and wellbeing benefits for children and young adults. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that these videos are being applied in the real world to help inspire and educate people.

Oh, and winning the Startup at Collar Factory competition, of course!

What are your favourite things about working in Taunton?

Collar Factory is certainly now one of my favourite things about working in Taunton. It has been a bit of a game changer and given me and the business a chance to breathe and refocus. Being a fan of walking and mountain biking, I enjoy being close to the Quantocks and proximity to the coast.

More specifically, lunchtime toasties from Snappy SUP’s and after work drinks with friends and colleagues at the Ring of Bells.

Ring of Bells pub, Taunton, Somerset
Cheese Toastie, Snappy SUPs, Taunton, Somerset

Desert island situation: what 3 things can you not live without?

Music (no adverts), good coffee and a paddleboard. Where do I sign up?

What prompted you to enter the Startup at Collar Factory competition?

I enjoyed working from home initially but having worked in an office previously for several years, I missed certain structural and social elements of the office.

Also, perhaps like many people who were working from home felt that there was no separation from home and office. New and existing clients didn’t object to coming to my home office, or meeting in a coffee shop, but it didn’t feel very professional, so a working hub or a co-working space / office / studio was on the Rockstone radar. As soon as we saw the Startup at Collar Factory competition advert, we jumped in with both feet!

Do you have any exciting new projects coming up that you can tell us about?

We have work booked in for a Drone Survey company. We previously designed their website and now they would like us to create some video content, which will be in the form of explainer videos. Some of the work they carry out sounds exciting because of the use of drones, but it is in fact quite complex and technical. Additionally, we have recently taken some enquiries for video work from some of the companies based here at Collar Factory so watch this space as they say!

Where can we find out more about what you do? or just drop in for a coffee!